News / USA

    US Intelligence Officials Warn of Persistent Threat from al-Qaida

    Multimedia

    Audio

    America's top intelligence officials have delivered a sobering assessment to Congress, saying that the al-Qaida terrorist network remains a persistent threat to the United States because its followers have been able to adapt their methods to make detection difficult.

    National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair testified Wednesday to the House of Representatives' Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, that the threat from al-Qaida remains strong.

    "We have been warning in the past several years that al-Qaida itself, and its affiliates and al-Qaida-inspired terrorists remain committed to striking the United States.  And in the past year, we have some names that go behind these warnings," he said.

    Blair named as examples from the past year Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-born man charged with plotting to use weapons of mass destruction in the United States and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian man who allegedly tried to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas Day.

    Blair also cited Major Nidal Hasan, an American who allegedly shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, in Texas, as an example of a "homegrown, self-radicalized extremist."

    Blair warned that the threat of violent extremism is constantly evolving.

    "We have made complex, multi-team attacks very difficult for al-Qaida to pull off," he said.  "But as we saw with the recent rash of attacks last year, both successful and unsuccessful, identifying individual terrorists, small groups with short histories, using simple attack methods, is a much more difficult task," said Blair.

    At a similar hearing held by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta said that it is not so much that the United States faces an attack like the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

    CIA Director Leon Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC., 02 Feb 2010
    CIA Director Leon Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC., 02 Feb 2010

    "I think the greater threat is that al-Qaida is adapting their methods in ways that often times make it difficult to detect," he said.

    Panetta and other intelligence officials warn that al-Qaida is increasingly trying to recruit Americans and others with no terrorist records, and that the danger of self-radicalization by terrorist sites on the Internet is growing.

    Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein asked Blair about the possibility of an attack against the United States in the near future.

    FEINSTEIN:  "What is the likelihood of another terrorist attempted attack on the U.S. homeland in the next three to six months, high or low?  Director Blair?"
    BLAIR:  "An attempted attack the priority is certain, I would say."

    Director Blair cited malicious cyber activity as another increasing threat.  But he said that threat of global economic collapse has decreased substantially since last year.

    At Tuesday's Senate hearing, Republican lawmakers sharply criticized the Obama administration for its handling of the foiled Christmas Day airline bomb plot, complaining that suspect Abdulmutallab stopped talking after he was given a lawyer.

    National Intelligence Director Blair said authorities have to strike a balance between the goals of getting good intelligence and prosecuting the suspect, and that they had done a good job in the case.

    "We got good intelligence, we are getting more," Blair said.

    Obama administration officials say that Abdulmutallab has been cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is now sharing information.

    A federal grand jury has indicted the 23-year-old on six criminal counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

    The case has sparked a heated debate in Congress over whether terror suspects should be taken into civilian or military custody, and tried in civilian courts in the United States or by military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora